Classes at Balletmet…FINALLY

11 Jul

So I’ve been taking a lot of ballet classes this week…Mon/Wed/Fri. morning with Karen Eliot (if that’s her real name…I keep forgetting to ask) at OSU and I also took a couple of classes at BalletMet with foreign teacher men people, at least one of which is Russian (YES! Or should I say…DA!).  BalletMet is Columbus’ premier ballet company, and you would think after 20ish years of life in C-bus I would have taken some classes before, but sadly this is not the case.  My parents never even took me to see the NUTCRACKER.  I had to get my Nutcracker fix from the Care Bears VHS version (which has its misgivings…but oh that Grumpy Bear…what a hoot).  We’re talking the ONE ballet everyone in their mother of pearl knows (well that and Swan Lake) and my parents deprived me.  Which some may say is a good thing I suppose…since it’s known to some as “ugh, THAT ballet.”

Anyway, so I wanted to give BalletMet classes a try just because they’re a Columbus thing and their classes are pretty good, even if the schedule is really bizarre.  During the summer they only have classes for adults for 4 weeks in July.  Early summer is understandably reserved for summer intensives for the little ballet bambinas aspiring to be professionals, but the sporadic schedule is still unpleasant.  Criticism aside, I had class with Dmitri on Tuesday, and at first I found him difficult to understand, but he demonstrated well enough so that I didn’t have to (a skill I developed while studying abroad…when you live in a foreign country, you learn to survive without understanding everything.  Or sometimes, anything).  Pretty standard class, nothing too crazy…although I guess some of the students looked a bit out of sorts and he asked if this was their first class since classes had ended in the spring to which they replied “yes.”  A HA!  A negative consequence of BalletMet’s helter skelter wonky schedule.  Although the fact that he even asked at all makes me wonder what was he doing during the month off?   Obviously he wasn’t teaching, but then what?  Who?  Where…oh well.

Now Thursday night’s class was taught by George, this diminutive and elderly man who was even harder to understand and didn’t really demonstrate.  His foot would kind of shuffle around a little and then before I knew it he’d be asking the pianist to play and somehow everything flew right by me.  The weird thing though, is there were dancers in the class who DID understand and apparently derived some kind of structured exercise from said foot shuffles, so clearly it’s not him, it’s me.  I suppose only time can give me the skills to decode this secret language…time and practice.  When I was able to get a grasp on what he was saying he definitely knew what he was talking about, and told me to keep my chest open and lengthen my neck more (even though I have a short neck…poo).  And come to think of it, he complimented my saut de basque.  Although I do think he was a lot more optimistic about my abilities than I am…I’m not flexible at all (hamstrings of steel) and in this rond de jambe en l’air-ish thrown leg thingie he wanted me to kick over his hand, which he held just under my shoulder and that wasn’t going to happen.  And he also had me hold my leg out to the side as high as possible, proceeded to poke me in several places to get me to stand up straighter and wanted me to keep it there after I let go and that wasn’t going to happen either.  But at least one of us sees the potential, and he gave me an encouraging pat on the shoulder at the end of class.

Then this morning it was back to Karen, who told us today not to shoot our arms towards the sky because we don’t “seek the heavens for help” and we need to shape our arms and maintain the shape as we move.  It was a rather odd day though…a lot of giggles in the background, but apparently some of the grad students were joking around about building a community for retired dancers called “Shady Pines,” even though I’m sure they’re all in their 20’s and MAAAAYBE early 30’s.  But it’s like I said before, dancers see their careers in terms of dog years.  But I can’t really speak for people who have had major injuries since I never have (and to think I used to feel left out for never having broken a bone).  Although I did sustain a minor injury today, and not in the studio mind you…because dancers never get injured in the studio.  But I’m pretty sure I sprained my finger when I whacked it against the turn signal handle switch while I was driving today.  Still hurts, the stupid little extremity.

One lovely thing that did happen this week was that the accompanist played a song I requested, for adagge on Wednesday AND Friday.  If you want a lovely song, try Chopin’s Nocturne no.2 in E-flat major, Op.9, no.2.  It’s one of my all time favorites, and because it’s a 12/8 it can even be played faster too for waltzy enchaînements.  But all good things must come to an end, and one un-lovely thing was the barrage of sissones this week.  What is it about sissones that make me get stuck?  Grande allegro this morning was failli-assemblé-3 x changement, SISSONE en avant step through assemblé-3 x changement, sissone ouverte coupe assemblé- 3 x changement, then your run of the mill tombé-pas de bourée-glissade-saut de chat (with arms in THIRD!  AHAHAHAHA! Or as they say in Brazil, AHUAHUAHUAHUA!).  But seriously, everytime, right before the sissone it was like landing in a puddle of molasses.  I hesitate, I freak, and then I’m 2 counts behind.  Damn me and my slow reaction time!

Grumpy Bear don't play when it comes to the sissone

Grumpy Bear don't play when it comes to the sissone

Meanwhile, in other news, I am officially on twitter now.  Don’t know if it’s a good idea, and my feeble brain is having problems keeping up with technology these days, but what the heck.  I’ll try almost anything once.

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